It seems MS Dhoni’s demand for a bowling coach has been answered as former South Africa player Eric Simons will join the Indian team for the Test series against Bangladesh.
Simons, who has coached South Africa for two years before being replaced by Ray Jennings in 2004, will join the team on January 16.
He has been appointed on a trial basis for this Test series on the recommedation of coach Gary Kirsten.
Hailing from South Africa’s Western Province, all-rounder Simons made his international debut at the age of 32 and took just 33 wickets and scored 217 runs in 23 one-dayers.
India have been without bowling and fielding coaches since October as the BCCI had sacked Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh following team’s dismal performance in the ICC World T20 and Champions Trophy.
Indian captain MS Dhoni, before leaving for the Bangladesh tour, admitted the team was missing bowling and fielding coaches and that Gary Kirsten was overburdened.
“He has to look after everything: he has to sit and talk to the batsmen, bowlers, fielders, build strategies and look after team building,” Dhoni had said.
“It does help to have specialist bowling and fielding coaches for the bowlers and fielders. But that’s the way it and it’s now an administrative issue,” he added.
There were also reports of another South African, Allan Donald, in contention for the job. A BCCI official had informally approached the former pacer during the Champions League T20 tournament held in last October.
While he was told the process could take longer than expected for the Board to take a final decision, things might settle down before South Africa’s tour of India in February.
“Yes, I had an informal chat during Champions League Twenty20 with an Indian board official,” Donald had told a website.
“I would be interested to talk to the BCCI regarding the bowling coach job that is currently vacant and I’m keen,” he added.
However, coach Kirsten is keen to have Simons on board after former India paceman Venkatesh Prasad was sacked from the post in October just before the home series against Australia.
When contacted, BCCI’s Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty said no decision has been taken yet. “We are looking for a bowling coach but we have not finalised a name yet”, he said.
A top source said the the BCCI first wants to trial Simons in the ongoing series against Bangladesh to give the team sufficient time to have a comfort level with him.